Medical negligence compensation claims

If you have suffered harm because of a medical mistake you could be entitled to compensation.

We understand that no amount of money can help undo the suffering caused by medical mistakes and clinical errors, but compensation may help to get your life back as close as possible to what it would have been if the mistake had not happened. It can also help you get answers on what went wrong, and highlight what happened to help to ensure others do not suffer in the same way.

If you or a loved one has had medical treatment that you suspect fell below the required standards and resulted in avoidable suffering, then we’re here to advise you, whether it was private or NHS care.

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Medical negligence compensation claims

We understand that no amount of money can help undo the suffering caused by medical mistakes, but compensation may help to get your life back as close as possible to what it would have been if the mistake had not happened. It can also help you get answers on what went wrong to help to ensure others do not suffer in the same way. 

If you or a loved one has had medical treatment that you suspect fell below required standards and resulted in avoidable suffering, we’re here to advise you, whether it was private or NHS care.

Understanding medical negligence

Medical negligence is what happens when medical care is not delivered to an appropriate standard and leaves you with problems or injuries that you would not have had otherwise.  It can have serious, long-term mental, physical and financial consequences or even end in a death. 

Some examples of medical negligence include:

  • misdiagnosis
  • improper treatment
  • failure or delay in treatment
  • failure to perform an appropriate follow up
  • prescription errors

The standard of a medical professional’s care is measured against that of their peers. If, when dealing with the same case, other medical professionals would have acted differently, the clinician will be found negligent.

Your rights and eligibility

If you have concerns about the medical care and treatment you or someone you care about received, you are entitled to answers. If you are not happy with these answers or are struggling to get them, a specialist solicitor is likely to be able to help.

If we find that the quality of your medical care did not meet acceptable standards and led to you experiencing harm in a way you would not have done otherwise, we can help you make a compensation claim. 

Cases where compensation may be due include:

  • a doctor fails to correctly diagnose a severe medical condition, resulting in delayed treatment and causing additional harm
  • a pharmacist provides the wrong medication or dosage, causing adverse side effects or worsening the patient’s condition.
  • a healthcare provider performs a procedure without obtaining proper informed consent, and the patient suffers unforeseen complications as a result.
  • after a medical procedure, a healthcare provider fails to provide proper follow-up care, leading to complications that could have been prevented.
  • medical facilities fail to implement proper infection control measures, leading to the unnecessary spread of infections among patients.

We’re here to help. You can call us on 0800 0448488 or email or request a call back

We're here to support you

Tailored support

Each claim and circumstance is unique. Our experience empowers us to ask the right questions, attentively listen to your concerns, and strive to meet your specific needs.

No-win, no-fee

We provide no win, no fee arrangements to ensure you don’t have to face financial risk in order to get the compensation you deserve.

Financial stability

Our court of protection and personal injury trusts experience means we can help you to achieve long term financial security even after a settlement.

How can compensation help you?

Although compensation can’t reverse the harm caused, it could help ease some of the challenges, costs and losses that were caused as a result of the negligence.

For example, compensation may assist in covering extra expenses related to any necessary treatment, therapy, and rehabilitation, ensuring you access the ongoing care you require. It can contribute to funding adjustments to your living situation or support efforts to restore your daily life to as normal a state as possible. Additionally, compensation can address any income loss resulting from a medical negligence error that left you unable to work.

Beyond the financial implications, pursuing a compensation claim can offer a means of accountability for those who were negligent, get an explanation, answers and apology plus contribute to a sense of closure and justice for you and your loved ones. In some cases, bringing a claim can result in further investigations that may help prevent what happened to you from happening to someone else in the future.

Trusted expertise

As expert solicitors focusing on serious injury, medical negligence, mental capacity and education, you can trust us to get the best results for you.

We know how hard it is to deal with the harm you or a loved one has suffered. We’ll support you with empathy every step of the way.

We can help you on a no win no fee basis, meaning you don’t need to worry about funding legal costs

Our support doesn’t end after a claim. We can help you with your financial affairs after settlement and introduce you to charities and organisations that might be able to help you going forward.

Choosing a medical negligence lawyer

Medical negligence claims are very complicated. It is important to find an experienced solicitor if you’d like to pursue a claim. 

Enable Law is a leading clinical negligence UK specialist firm – many members of our team are not just legal experts but also have a background in healthcare which gives us the perfect insight and expertise to be able to support you with complicated medical negligence cases.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch and allow us to guide you on whether you have a claim and how we can help you to pursue it. We can usually offer some initial guidance very quickly once we know the specifics of your situation. We can also ensure you have the correct cover in place so that you do not have to be concerned about having to pay legal costs.

Expert legal help following medical negligence

Speak to one of our specialist solicitors now for a free, confidential discussion.

Claire was left incontinent after surgery and discovered she was a victim of medical negligence

Mum-of-three Claire was one of 220 patients in a group action led by Enable Law for compensation claims involving former obstetrician and gynaecologist Rob Jones.

Claire had tried to get answers when she suffered incontinence and health issues following a hysterectomy, but said she was made to feel she was the only one it happened to. That’s when she contacted Enable Law.

She said: “Immediately I was made to feel I wasn’t on my own any more…They’ve held my hand through everything.”

Claire went on to establish a support group for other patients and decided to lead media calls to ensure other victims got help too.

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Frequently asked questions

Medical negligence and personal injury claims can be very stressful, and if you feel you’re not getting the right level of support from your lawyer, you might be wondering if it’s possible to move your claim to a new firm.

Often this will be a difficult decision to make, with worries about getting a new lawyer up to speed on your claim, any delays that might involve, and the possible cost implications with moving to a new firm.

The most important thing to know is that if you want to change your lawyer, you can. We will work with you to ensure that any disruption is kept to a minimum, and that your claim is not affected.

How do I move my claim to Enable Law?

Contact us and tell us who you would like to deal with your case if you already know the lawyer’s name, or if you do not, tell us what kind of case you have and we will put you in touch with a specialist lawyer for that kind of claim.

Group litigations are where a number of individuals with similar claims, arising from similar circumstances (and usually against the same Defendant) come together to claim as a single group.

A group action can be run by a single firm of solicitors acting on behalf of all the individuals, or those individuals could be represented by a number of different firms.  If they are represented by different firms, then it is usual to apply to the Court for a Group Litigation Order.  The Court will then appoint one firm to act as ‘Lead Solicitor’.  It is the Lead Solicitor who takes responsibility for coordinating the group and for negotiations with the Defendant(s) and their legal team(s).

The major benefit of a group litigation is that the more individuals that are involved, the greater the investigative and negotiating power that the group has.  Due to the detailed nature of many group actions, any solicitor working on such a case is usually highly specialised in that particular area of law.  This means that the individuals have the additional benefit of knowing that the solicitor representing them is experienced in both the specific area of law and in group actions.

In order to prove a medical negligence claim, there are two tests that we must apply.  First, we must show that the medical staff breached their duty of care to you.  This means showing that the standard of care you received was below the standard expected of a reasonable medical professional and that no other responsible professional would have treated you in the same way.  Secondly, we have to establish “causation”. This means showing that the substandard treatment you received caused you an injury on the balance of probabilities (over a 50% chance).  Causation is split into two different parts; factual causation (what would/should have happened had the breach not occurred) and medical causation (had the appropriate steps been taken, on the balance of probabilities, your injury would have been avoided).

In order to satisfy these tests, we will need to request copies of your medical records and instruct an independent medical expert to advise on whether the care you received was appropriate.  If this report is supportive, it is likely that we will need to instruct further experts to advise on whether the substandard care caused you an injury.  If all the reports are supportive, we will write to the Defendant (the organisation/person whom the claim is against) setting out the allegations in detail and ask them to admit liability (i.e. that they were negligent).

When you’ve faced harm through an accident or medical negligence, compensation can help to get your life back on track. How much compensation you could receive depends on the nature of your ailments and the impact these have had on your life and finances.

General damages

General damages are compensation awarded for the injury itself and the pain and suffering caused.

It can be difficult to quantify how much injuries are worth financially. There is guidance, however, on the ‘value’ of particular injuries detailed in the Judicial College guidelines.

Courts consider this guidance, together with previous cases concerning similar injuries, to evaluate the amount of compensation to be awarded in each case.

Special damages

Special damages relate to the compensation you might receive for expenses incurred because of the injury.

The court can award money for expenses you have already incurred as a direct result of the negligence – these are called ‘past losses’. For example, you might incur travel costs when attending hospital to treat injuries, or purchasing mobility aids for your home.

The court can also assess costs you may incur in the future, such as for equipment, carers, or therapies to help you cope. The courts also seek to address whether the harm caused will result in other future loss to you. If you are now unable to work due to the injury, you may be awarded compensation for loss of earnings.

The courts may also award interest on the basis that money lost could have been put to other uses or saved during the period between incurring the expense and the date compensation is awarded.

To succeed with a clinical negligence claim we need to establish both breach of duty and causation. We need to show that the care you received was substandard and it has caused you an injury.   In the majority of cases, expert evidence will need to be obtained to support any allegations made. 

At Enable Law, we carry out detailed risk assessments at the very beginning of the case to ensure there are reasonable prospects of succeeding with the claim.  If we do not consider there are reasonable prospects, we will advise you of this and explain the reasons why.  If we consider there are reasonable prospects of succeeding with the claim and we accept instructions to act for you, we will continue to risk assess the claim at various stages; for example, upon receipt of the medical records, the expert evidence and a response from the Defendant.  We will keep you fully updated throughout the case as to what we consider to be the strengths and weakness of your case.  We will always act in your best interests and will explore all aspects of a claim to ensure we can obtain the best possible result for you.  However, as clinical negligence is a complex area of law which relies heavily on medical evidence, there can never be any guarantees that the case will succeed.

Clients are often worried about making a claim because of what it might cost. Concerns about the cost should not put you off seeking advice about your claim in the first place.  When you contact us we will give you straightforward advice about how your claim could be funded and answer any questions.

There are a number of ways to fund your claim.  The basic principle is that if you win your case, the Defendant will pay you compensation and cover the majority of your legal costs.   If you lose, we will make sure that you have an appropriate funding arrangement in place to cover your costs, (except if you fund your case privately). 

Lots of people have legal expenses insurance that will fund a claim.  This will usually be included in a household buildings or contents policy and provides an amount of money that will cover the legal costs whether you win or lose.  If you send us copies we can look into whether your policies cover this for you.

Many cases are funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) often referred to as a “no win, no fee” agreement.  Under a CFA, if your case is unsuccessful you will not have to pay any of our legal fees.  You can also take out insurance cover to fund additional expenses, such as the cost of obtaining medical records and reports from medical experts.   If your case is successful you have to pay a proportion of the insurance premium from your compensation. If you lose, there is nothing to pay.   If the case is successful everyone bringing a claim under a CFA also has to make a contribution to their legal costs. We will keep you advised as the case progresses and can assure you that there will be no hidden costs. 

Legal Aid (also referred to as “public funding”) is available but only for children who have suffered a neurological injury caused during pregnancy, childbirth or within the first eight weeks of their life.  We are one of only a small number of firms accredited to carry out work under a certificate of public funding. For children who are eligible, this is the best way to fund your claim. 

If you cannot fund your claim through any of the above options, your only option is to fund it privately. However, we would usually agree to carry out the initial investigation for a fixed fee and if you win your case, you will recover the money you have paid from the Defendant.

Enable Law has one of the leading specialist medical negligence, personal injury and mental capacity teams in the UK. 

Friendly and approachable, straightforward and constructive in our advice, our clients can rely on us in good times and bad. We aim to be caring and supportive in the service we provide to you.

We have extensive experience in a wide range of claims against both the NHS and private health providers.  We have members on both the Law Society and AvMA (Action against Medical Accidents) specialist clinical negligence panels.

We have good working relationships with a number of local NHS Trusts which means that some disputes can be resolved quickly and sensitively.

The Chambers Directory and the Legal 500 are top legal guides, who review the quality of services provided by solicitors. Both of them have praise for us, here are two excerpts from Chambers:

“The firm is excellent and has a very progressive approach. Its service cannot be faulted.” Chambers UK.

Their knowledge of the particular topics is excellent, and they balance a professional approach with kindness and compassion to clients who may have had very painful and traumatic experiences.” Chambers UK

With all medical negligence claims, there is a time limit, known as a limitation period. This is the timeframe within which you must commence court proceedings to be able to file a valid claim. So, how long might you have to bring a claim, and are there any exceptions to the rule?

What is the UK medical negligence time limit?

There is a time limit on your ability to make a medical negligence claim in the UK – usually, this is three years.

The limitation period may start from:

  • The date of the negligent event
  • The date you were first aware of the negligence.

The limitation period for medical negligence is the timeframe within which you have to issue a claim form at court – this begins proceedings.

For example, if you underwent a substandard operation on 12 March 2021 (and knew or should reasonably have known it was substandard at that time), court proceedings should be commenced by 11 March 2024 to prevent your claim from being statute-barred. This is when medical negligence claims are blocked because they miss the deadline.

However, if you were not aware that the operation was performed in a substandard way until 15 April 2022, court proceedings would need to be commenced by 14 April 2025. In such a case, further medical investigations might reveal the negligence.

What is the NHS negligence time limit?

The time limit for medical negligence in the UK is the same across NHS and private practice, and across all major specialisms. This means you also have three years to start bringing a medical negligence claim against the NHS.

Are there any exceptions to the medical negligence claim time limit?

There are a few key exceptions to the medical negligence time limit rules to keep in mind. In the UK, these usually apply to:

  • Children aged under 18
  • People who lack capacity – for instance, due to a mental disability
  • Other discretionary circumstances, decided by the court.

If the person making a medical negligence claim is under 18, then the three-year period does not start until their 18th birthday. This means they have until their 21st birthday to start Court proceedings, even if the negligent injury occurred during early childhood or birth.

If the claimant does not have capacity – a term that means they struggle to understand, retain, weigh up or communicate information surrounding decisions – then the three-year period does not apply. To confirm this, they will need to take a medical assessment.

The Court also has the discretion to waive the medical negligence limitation period in limited circumstances – so if you’re close to the deadline, or if it has passed, it may still be worth pursuing a claim.

This might apply, for example, if you have a psychiatric injury related to your claim, and this has prevented you from bringing a claim at an earlier time.

When should I start a medical negligence claim?

With the medical negligence time limit in mind, it’s best to seek advice as soon as you can. Even if you aren’t sure about the details of your case, a specialist solicitor from our team may be able to help.

You might have concerns about treatment you received, either as an inpatient or outpatient, or wish to ask questions about the potential strength of your case. Either way, contact us to begin your journey.

Starting a medical negligence claim early helps you to start the process before the time limit and reduces the risk of related problems. But there are other benefits too.

Specialist solicitors may have easier access to the evidence they need if you launch proceedings soon after the event. The quicker you begin, the faster your case may reach a settlement – and the sooner you can start living in a way that’s closer to your old lifestyle.

Medical negligence claims can take several years to process. How long yours could take depends on:

  • How serious the negligent event was. Life-changing personal injuries can fetch more compensation, which often equates to a longer processing time.
  • Access to medical records and other evidence. If we need to contact multiple hospitals, doctors or other health bodies, or otherwise gather evidence, then this may add to the time duration to make a medical negligence claim.
  • If the claim is contested, and if it goes to court. If the other party agrees with your stance and admits wrongdoing, things may be simpler than you expect.

On average, it took 1.6 years after notification for settlements reached in 2020-2021 to finalise, according to data from NHS Resolution. Higher sums of damages were likely to take longer.

The best way to understand what a medical negligence claim could look like for you is to speak to a specialist solicitor, who can explain the timescales likely to be involved in making your claim.

The medical negligence claim time limit: Key questions

What if I want to file a medical negligence claim after three years?

Medical negligence claims can sometimes be viable after the typical three-year time limit – so if you think you’re close to the deadline, or if you’re unsure, it’s still worth getting in touch. Your claim could be barred by the court if the limitation period has passed, but there’s a chance an exception may apply.

Can I claim for medical negligence after 10 or 20 years?

After 10 or 20 years, medical negligence claims can be more challenging – but there’s still a chance you can claim if a relevant exception applies. You may also be able to claim for historic medical negligence if new information highlights negligence-related injuries you didn’t know about before.

What are the statute of limitations for medical negligence in the UK?

Limitation, on negligence claims, refers to the time period within which you can bring a claim – the statute of limitations is simply the legal term for this ticking clock. Different limits apply for different types of negligence. In a clinical context, this is three years, as laid out in the Limitation Act 1980.

You do not need to choose a solicitor near to you, although in some circumstances it may be helpful.  There will be occasions during the course of the claim when we will need to meet you.  We do have offices in London, Southampton, Bristol and throughout the West Country so often there will be a convenient office where we can meet.  If you live at a distance from one of our offices or are unable to travel, we can normally offer a home visit.

It very much depends on a number of factors including whether liability is admitted, the level of cooperation on the part of the Defendant in settling your claim, the extent and complexity of your injury and rehabilitation needs. It is rare for a case to take less than a year to conclude, and is more likely to take several years. However, we will endeavour to see your case through to conclusion as quickly and effectively as possible.

Have other questions about serious personal injury claims?

If you have other questions in regard to a serious injury claim, please do get in touch with us and let us give you a more informed, personalised answer.

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